The Five Rhythms comprise a simple movement practice designed to release the dancer that lives in every body, no matter what its shape, size, age, limitations and experience. To find your dance is to find yourself, at your most fluid and creative level. While the practice itself is the essence of simplicity, it has the power to catalyse deep healing and creative expression. The primary teaching of this work is: if you put the body in motion the psyche will heal itself.
The 5Rhythms are flowing, staccato, chaos, lyrical and stillness. They come together to create the Wave, a movement meditation practice. Rather than having steps to follow, each Rhythm is a different energy field in which you find your own expression and choreography, thereby stretching your imagination as well as your body. Each Rhythm is a teacher and you can expect to meet different and sometimes unknown aspects of yourself as your dance unfolds and your practice of the Rhythms deepens over time.
The Rhythms are the foundation of Gabrielle Roth’s body of work, a series of healing maps for the body, heart, mind, soul and spirit that provide a lifetime of self discovery and a path to awakening.
What happens on the dance floor?
In every class or workshop, there is always a wide range of experience in the 5 Rhythms work - from first timers to certified Wave addicts. The teacher will be following the energy in the room. So, while the essential map is Five Rhythms, the teacher might take the class through the entire Wave or focus on just one Rhythm or one facet of a Rhythm.
The Rhythms themselves are gateways to literally thousands of different movement landscapes. Like the body, they are alive and designed to catalyse the dancer's movement expression in the moment. You are different every time you walk into the room, so is the group and so is your teacher. Therefore, each class holds unique possibilities.
Some basic principles:
• Go at your own pace.
• Be responsible for your own body (stay aware of injuries and limitations).
•Keep your eyes open to stay aware of others.
•Dance barefoot or in dance shoes - no socks on the dance floor please.
•Move how you feel and be open to changing.
•Know that everything that is alive has a dance, and your only task is to find and express yours.
•Enjoy yourself! (Excessive seriousness may slow you down).
The group is made up of people who have danced a long time, some not so long and some who are newcomers to the work. You don't have to have danced before - what matters is to be willing to join in and be open to what is happening in you. This is an open group, you can come any time.
Please don't wear outdoor shoes, or socks on the dance floor - they are slippery and dangerous, for you and for others. It's best to dance barefoot or in soft-soled dance shoes. Also it's a good idea to remove jewellery and watches - they can easily catch someone as you move.
What to expect on the dance floor:
We begin with warm-up music when you are invited to move in any way that feels right for you. It’s your time to arrive, to stretch, to find out how you are, to see what you need right now. It’s really helpful if you begin dancing as soon as you are ready and don’t talk on the dance floor - it gets in the way of being present and can distract other people who want to get on and settle into their practice.
After the warm-up dance we usually gather briefly to say hello to each other and to welcome newcomers. Sometimes there may be time to share anything relevant for you, or the teacher may say something about the evening ahead. Sometimes though we will move straight into the practice from warm-ups.
We then move into body parts - a guided moving meditation. Then we dive into the practice in whatever way feels appropriate for the group that week. Sometimes we may go through a Wave with minimal input from the teacher and plenty of space to explore the Rhythms for yourself. Sometimes the evenings will be more structured, sometimes working in pairs or small groups. There is no set way. How the evening takes shape depends on the group and the energy present in the room.
It can seem daunting at first, you may be shy or feel anxious - or you may be excited. Remember everyone came for the first time once, and the best way to get over shyness or inhibition is to simply move - in any way you can. Try to drop your ideas of how it should be and how you should be - accept yourself however you are and trust your movement. Everybody is unique and while there is a form to the 5 Rhythms there are no set steps to learn and no right way to do it. There is only you and your dance in the moment.
Some people already know each other and you can introduce yourself by dancing with someone else. You don’t have to do this; respect your own boundaries and those of others. If someone comes to dance with you and it doesn’t feel right, find a gentle way to say no and move away. If you go to dance with someone else and they say no, don’t take it personally - it’s simply where they are in the moment. Please take responsibility for your own physical well being.
Try to see instructions given by the teacher as an invitation rather than a ‘must’ - be willing to experiment and see what happens. A good guideline is that if your body says no then respect it, if your mind says no then don’t listen to it!! It may not all make sense at first, the important thing is to move and be open to something moving in you.
We usually finish by gathering in a circle and there may be time to share anything that has come up during the evening. Even if you don’t share in the closing circle, make sure that if you are stirred, troubled, excited, happy, sad then you speak to someone else in the group, or the teacher, before you leave.
Above all enjoy the session - see it as an opportunity.